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VVPAT Audit of EVMs: A Major Electoral Reform in India



  Apr 24, 2024

VVPAT-Based Audit of EVMs in India: Significant Electoral Reform



Introduction to VVPAT and Current Audit Practices

Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) systems are used alongside Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to allow voters to verify their cast vote is recorded correctly. In the current practice, the Election Commission of India (ECI) conducts a VVPAT-based audit by selecting a uniform sample of five EVMs from each Assembly constituency for manual verification of the VVPAT slips against the EVM tallies. This audit is designed to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the electronic voting process.

Demands for Changes in the Audit Process

Critics argue that the existing sample size is inadequate and does not conform to statistical principles, which could lead to high margins of error. There is a growing demand among various stakeholders, including political parties and civil society, for increasing the sample size significantly. Some even advocate for a 100% manual count of VVPAT slips to ensure absolute transparency and accuracy.

Reasons Behind the Increased Demand

The primary reason for these demands is concerns over potential discrepancies between the EVM results and the VVPAT slips, which could question the integrity of the electoral process. Larger sample sizes or a full count are seen as ways to enhance public trust in the election outcomes, especially in closely contested regions.

Supreme Court’s Involvement

The Supreme Court of India has previously mandated the use of VVPATs to enhance the transparency and trustworthiness of elections. However, the Court has been approached again due to dissatisfaction with the current auditing practices. The Supreme Court’s directive has been to ensure that the audit process is robust enough to effectively verify the accuracy of EVM results, addressing the concerns raised about the adequacy of the current sample size and the transparency of the audit process. The court has emphasized the need for the ECI to clarify and possibly revise its methodologies to align with the principles of statistical accuracy and electoral integrity.



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